April 18, 2014

Spring Training Notes: February 19

LOS ANGELES DODGERS WORKOUT

Tuesday, February 19, 2013: Full-Squad Workout #4 

BACK AT IT:Today, the Dodgers held their fourth full-squad workout of 2013 as Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu faced hitters for the first time during live batting practice. Matt Palmer, Steve Ames, Juan Abreu, Aaron Harang, Ronald Belisario, Peter Moylan and Josh Wall also faced hitters, while Javy Guerra threw a traditional bullpen off the mound. 

A WHOLE NEW BLUE!: Today the Dodgers officially announced details of their “A Whole New Blue” advertising and marketing campaign, which will include print, digital, television, radio and out-of-home components. The “A Whole New Blue” campaign takes its lead from the anticipation and excitement generated by team ownership’s very ambitious off-season program to strengthen the team and implement enhancements to iconic Dodger Stadium. The campaign debuted on the team’s website (www.dodgers.com) and on graphics seen at the recently held, first ever off-season team FanFest. It has been incorporated in the team’s print ads, radio spots, game tickets, and other sales collateral and will soon be displayed on billboards and bus shelters. Digital and television advertising will launch later this month. “A Whole New Blue” was designed by Walton Isaacson (WI), the team’s new advertising agency

  • Today, the Dodgers’ camp had its annual visit from MLB Productions, while Showtime’s 60 Minutes Sports sat down with Don Mattingly, Ned Colletti and Tommy Lasorda for an upcoming episode on the team.

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: The 58 players currently in big league camp represent nine different countries, including the United States, Dominican Republic (7), Venezuela (3), Puerto Rico (2), Mexico (2), Curacao (1), South Korea (1), Australia (1) and Cuba (1).

  • The Dodgers will have five players depart Camelback Ranch in early March to participate in the World Baseball Classic with Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz representing Team Mexico, Ronald Belisario playing for Venezuela, Hanley Ramirez joining the Dominican Republic squad for pool play in Puerto Rico and Nick Punto suiting up for Team Italy.
  • Gonzalez, who will play in his third World Baseball Classic, will serve as Team Mexico’s captain. In 2009, the 30-year-old got off to a hot start after playing in the WBC, hitting .333 with 20 RBI in 22 April games for the Padres and tying for the MLB lead with nine home runs in the month.

WRITER’S BLOCK: As a part of the team’s community efforts, Dodger players and coaches signed more than 400 jerseys, 32 bats, 120 dozen baseballs and hundreds of photos in the last two days, which will be donated to various charities throughout the Los Angeles community.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN: On this day in 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers signed free agent outfielder Roberto Clemente from Puerto Rico to a one-year contract for $5,000 and a $10,000 signing bonus. At age 19, Clemente batted .257 in 87 games at Triple-A Montreal. The Dodgers tried to “hide” the prospect by not playing him full time and gambled by not protecting him in the Rule 5 Draft after the season. The ploy didn’t work as Pittsburgh President Branch Rickey drafted Clemente and he began his eventual Hall of Fame journey with the Pirates.?

  • Major League Baseball renamed its annual community service award after Clemente following his death on Dec. 31, 1972. A Dodger is nominated for the award each year with Steve Garvey taking home the league-wide honor in 1981 and Clayton Kershaw winning it last year.

COULD BE LEGENDARY: Dodger alumni Ron Cey, Tim Leary, Fernando Valenzuela, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager will help celebrate a new season of Cactus League play at Camelback Ranch – Glendale’s inaugural Legends Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23-24. Former greats from both the Dodgers and White Sox franchises will be on hand to sign autographs and greet fans from 11:30 am-12:30 pm before being introduced in pregame ceremonies for the club’s first Cactus League game at Camelback Ranch – Glendale against the White Sox at 1:05 pm on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2013

Dodgers Roll the Dice on Non-Roster Pitchers

LOS ANGELES DODGERS WORKOUT

Probably one of my favorite Spring Training activities is watching the non-roster invitees try and have a magical breakthrough and make the major league team. While always a long-shot, it’s fascinating to see who is extended an invitation and how the competition progresses.

Ken Gurnick over at MLB.com has a great look at state of the Dodgers’ the NRI pitching competition as Mattingly and Honeycutt look for a diamond in the rough to potentially round out the bullpen.  The 2013 roster includes Juan Abreu, Kelvin de la Cruz, Kevin Gregg, Mark Lowe, Gregory Infante, Matt Palmer and Peter Moylan. Gregg, Lowe and I guess Moylan have the most promise, but like all NRI guys, they’re looking for something of a reboot for their careers.  If I had to bet on one at this early stage, I’d go with Mark Lowe, as he probably has the most legitimate upside of this group.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2013

Spring Training Notes: February 18

LOS ANGELES DODGERS WORKOUT

We’ll be getting these up on a daily basis moving forward (straight from the Dodgers’ PR department):

INTO THE SWING OF THINGS:On the third day of full-squad workouts, left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw a live batting practice session, facing teammates Carl Crawford, Luis Cruz, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Jerry Hairston, Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe. In addition to Kershaw, Stephen Fife, Matt Guerrier, Matt Magill and Shawn Tolleson all threw their first live BP sessions of spring.

LISTEN CAREFULLY: Along with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, Sandy Koufax, who was sporting his class No. 32 Dodger BP jersey, spent time working with members of the Dodger pitching staff in the bullpen area, including an extended chat with Josh Beckett. After joining the club in late August, the right-hander posted a 2.93 ERA (14 ER/43.0 IP) in seven starts with Los Angeles.

BIRTHDAY BOYS: The Dodgers would like to wish a very happy birthday to coach Manny Mota (75) and assistant hitting coach John Valentin (46). Mota is entering 34th season as a coach with the Dodgers and 2013 marks his 44th year with Los Angeles after a playing career that spanned parts of 13 seasons with the club. The Santo Domingo, DR native will embark on his fourth season as a broadcaster for PRIME TICKET as a Spanish broadcaster. Valentin is entering his first season on the Major League staff and sixth season in the Dodger organization, after spending last year as the Triple-A Albuquerque hitting coach. Under Valentin’s tutelage last year, the Isotopes ranked among the Pacific Coast League team batting leaders in average (.298, T-1st), runs (842, 2nd), hits (1,495, 2nd), triples (58, T-1st), slugging percentage (1st, .471) and OPS (.832, 1st). Happy birthday, Manny and John!

  •  Mota hit .304 during his 20-year Major League career with San Francisco (1962), Pittsburgh (1963-68), Montreal (1969) and the Dodgers (1969-80, 82) while becoming baseball’s all-time pinch-hit leader with 150, a mark since broken by Lenny Harris and Mark Sweeney.
  • Valentin played the majority of his career with the Boston Red Sox as a shortstop from 1992-2001. A veteran of 11 Major League seasons, Valentin is the only player in Major League history to complete an unassisted triple play (July 8, 1994 vs. Seattle Mariners) and hit for the cycle (June 6, 1996 vs. Chicago White Sox). He won the American League Silver Slugger award at shortstop in 1995 and belted three homers in the 1999 AL Division Series to lead Boston over the Cleveland Indians. He yielded the reigns of shortstop to former Los Angeles Dodger Nomar Garciaparra in 1997, converting to a second baseman and eventually shifting to third base after a season-ending injury to starter Tim Naehring. Valentin spent three more seasons with the Red Sox before ending his career with the Mets.

FOR THE CAUSE: Today and tomorrow, Dodger players and coaches will sign more than 400 jerseys, 32 bats, 120 dozen baseballs and hundreds of photos, which will be donated to various charities throughout the Los Angeles community.

THIS DAY IN DODGER HISTORY: On February 18, 1999, the United States Postal Service issues a second stamp commemorating the career and accomplishments Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson as part of the “Celebrating the Century” series. Robinson’s stamp represents the 1940s when the infielder broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The first Robinson stamp was issued in 1982 as part of the Postal Service’s Black Heritage series

COULD BE LEGENDARY: Dodger alumni Ron Cey, Tim Leary, Fernando Valenzuela, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager will help celebrate a new season of Cactus League play next weekend at Camelback Ranch – Glendale’s inaugural Legends Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23-24. Former greats from both the Dodgers and White Sox franchises will be on hand to sign autographs and greet fans from 11:30 am-12:30 pm before being introduced in pregame ceremonies for the club’s first Cactus League game at Camelback Ranch – Glendale against the White Sox at 1:05 pm on Saturday, Feb. 23.

GETTING SOCIAL: One of the best ways to stay connected with the Dodgers during Spring Training (#DodgersST) is on social media with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and earlier this year, the club launched a program to reward those dedicated fans interacting with the club online, via social media and at Dodger Stadium. For more information on the Dodgers Rewards program and to sign up to be entered to win great prizes, including Opening Day tickets and autographed baseballs, fans can visit DodgersRewards.com.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2013

Pitchers and Catchers Report to Camelback Ranch on February 12

Camelback Ranch

Spring Training officially opens for the Dodgers this week with pitchers and catchers reporting to Camelback Ranch on Tuesday, and man, am I excited!  The first workout kicks off on Wednesday, position players report on Friday and the first full-squad workout takes place on Saturday.

Also of note, Don Mattingly will be giving his first media address of the season on Tuesday, with new lefty pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu and general manager Ned Colletti also speaking during the day.

As we have for the past seven years, the dodgerfan.net guys will be here all season long, giving you our unique analysis and thoughts on the team on and off the field all season long, so stop by, pull up a chair and participate!  We run this blog because we love it, but interacting with all of you makes it even better.

See you at the ballpark,

Chris and Alex

Photo credit: Glendale Star